I never thought I'd be writing about the predicament of what to wear to dine outdoors in the winter (because who does that?), but it's our reality in 2020, so here I am to give you some advice. First and foremost, it's up to each of us to decide what level of risk we're comfortable taking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dining outdoors is indeed safer than dining indoors and depending what Tier you are in, many who are choosing to go to a restaurant are spending their weekends looking for restaurants with outdoor heaters.
I, for one, have dined outdoors in the heat with flies swarming and in the rain this year, so I guess my next adventure is dining outside when it's sub-zero temperatures. But it's going to take a little preparation, so let's discuss it. As someone who is always freezing, I think I'm well-suited to speak on the topic of dressing for warmth without sacrificing your sense of style. The thing that makes outdoor dining in the winter such a challenge is that you can't sit there and eat your soup in a puffer and scarf and not be uncomfortable (but if you can, tell me your secrets). You're going to want to wear warm base layers and choose your outerwear carefully, and hopefully, there will be heating.
To guide you, below you'll find eight perfect outfit ideas for wintertime outdoor dining, along with a tip to glean for each and what to buy to see you through to next spring. Good luck out there, and don't forget your mask and this genius electric hand warmer.
My friend (and former Who What Wear editor!) Aemilia is my outdoor dining muse with this look. Note the hat and cosy socks. Chic, warm accessories are key here. You want to leave as little skin as possible exposed. And of course, don't forget a mask.
What we're going for here is outerwear that you don't need to take off when you sit down to dine. An oversized blazer is perfect—just make sure that your sweater is warm and that your blazer is made of wool or leather.
Shackets are a trend this season, and they happen to make for a great non-bulky jacket. Opt for one that's made of wool or thick flannel, and if you want to wear a coat over it, make sure it's a little more slim-fitting like the Isabel Marant one below.
No matter what you're wearing, if your neck is cold, you will be cold. Fix that with the help of a roll neck or a scarf (preferably one that's lightweight and warm so you don't have to take it off to eat).
This is a no-brainer, but if you must forgo pants this winter, cover your legs as much as possible, preferably with a pair of Uniqlo's famous Heattech tights. And luckily, knee boots are ridiculously chic.
A wool coat just might be your hero piece this winter. Unlike a puffer, if it's roomy enough, it's not all that unheard of to keep it on while you dine. Just keep your layers thin so that you can move your arms to eat.
If it's cold enough to require a puffer, it's cold enough to need a thick sweater. Wear your thickest one with a Uniqlo Heattech layer underneath so that you can take the puffer off at least for as long as it takes you to eat.